Temporary Power Poles vs Permanent Power Poles

by | Dec 10, 2021 | Building tips

If you’re in the inner city and are looking at a knockdown rebuild project you may need the power to get the job done.

This article will take you through what you need to know, including steps you need to take, the differences between temporary and permanent power poles, and which is better for your needs.

 Temporary Power Poles vs Permanent Power Poles

In a nutshell, the difference between a temporary power pole and a permanent one is in the name. Temporary power poles are designed to be used on a short-term basis and permanent power poles are there for the long haul.

When it comes to a Knockdown Rebuild, both options have their merits. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each.

Planning a Knock Down Rebuild? Click here to read our guide!

Temporary Power Poles

Temporary poles are sometimes called builder’s poles and there are numerous businesses that will hire them to you.


For a commercial temporary power pole hire, expect to pay between $600-1,100. Remember, this cost will only cover hire for a specified timeframe (usually 12 weeks). If you go over this time, you will be charged more (around $30-60pw).

When your build is done, the temporary pole will be removed. Some temporary power poles can be converted into permanent private power poles, so check with the hiring company to see if this is possible.

Permits and Getting Power

First thing’s first, you’ll need a permit, which means you’ll have to send an application to the proper authorities (which might come with fees). You’ll also need to hire an electrician, who may be able to assist with the permits.

Once you’ve done this, either you or your contractor will need to call your local power company and ask them to connect your power. This company will be in charge of enforcing regulations and will pull you up for any infringements.

Installing a Metre

The point of a metre is to keep track of how much power you use and for the safety switch. Installing a metre isn’t just a safety thing: it’s a legal requirement! Before installation, you’ll have to send an application to Energex and make sure any other power has been turned off. Only a qualified electrician can install the metre.

Permanent Power Poles

Here are some main reasons why someone may install a private permanent power pole

  • For a knock down rebuild. Once you’ve bought the power pole, its yours, which could be better value than spending money on renting a builder’s pole.
  • It allows a property owner more control over where electricity is available in their home.
  • Can be for safety reasons. Sometimes the way the street network pole is connected may be dangerous. This could be because the cables are obstructing trees, walkways or roads.
  • An existing pole may need to replaced due to age or damage.

Underground and Overhead Power Connections

Pros of Overhead Powerlines

  • Less expensive than underground
  • Quicker to build
  • Cost less for repairs
  • Easier to spot faults with
  • No limit on voltage


  • More susceptible to weather and the environment (things like fallen branches, high winds, storms.)
  • Overgrowing trees can interfere with overhead lines
  • Some find them less pleasing to the eye

Pros of Underground Powerlines

  • High winds, fallen branches and debris from storms can’t damage them.
  • Won’t spoil your view.


  • Not possible in all terrians. Rocky and/or difficult areas aren’t ideal for underground power.
  • Costs more, both to build and to repair.

Timber vs Steel

Wondering whether to go with timber or steel for your power pole? Here are the pros and cons of each:



  • Last longer on average than steel with a lifespan between 15-25 years
  • Available in more sizes than steel poles (most common sizes being 8m, 9.5m and 11m)
  • Lower conductivity for electricity


  • Installing timber poles requires heavy lifting equipment due to thier size and weight. This can make installationg more expensive.
  • Timber poles can rot if you live somewhere with above average ground water.

Advantages of Steel


  • Steel is termite proof.
  • Cheaper to install
  • Lifespan of 10-15 years depending on installation and environmental conditions


  • Prone to rust, especially in places where there is a lot of salt like near the beach.
  • Tend to be smaller than timber poles. This can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation. If you something less obtrusive, this is good. If you need a power pole bigger than 7.2m, you’ll have to go with timber.

When it comes to aesthetic appeal, we’ve found it’s subjective. Some people prefer timber, others steel.

Tips and Things to remember

  • Power poles MUST be installed by someone qualified to do so. For everyone’s safety, make sure you’re working with someone reputable and trustworthy.
  • Try to have an electrician lined up to install the metre as soon as possible. The sooner your temporary pole is up and running, the less money you’re paying for it to just sit there.
  • Before installing a power pole, make sure someone has checked there are no gaslines, pipes or cable where you’re planning to install Any mistake like this might come out of your pocket.
  • Maintaince of a private power pole is your responsibility. You’ll need to have it inspected at least once a year by a qualified electrician. You should also have it inspected after a heavy storm.  
  • Think your power pole is faulty? Get it checked ASAP. Call the company you hired it from so they can remedy the situation quickly.

Do you want the power to go ahead with your build? Buildi can help guide you through all the steps of your building journey. Book a free consulatation today!


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Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

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Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration